Stardust discussion questions

A few quick discussion questions for the movie, novel, and graphic novel of Stardust.  These questions assume that some members of the group will know the book, and others will know the film.

The book and DVD have different endings.  Which do you prefer?

In interviews, Neil Gaiman mentions that due to an oversight while reworking the draft, one of the witches in the novel sharpens an obsidian (glass) knife with a grindstone, and that sometimes he’s tempted to change it in new editions, since people keep mentioning that this isn’t possible. Does this sort of thing matter in a fantasy novel?  Do little bits of fantasy damage the verisimilitude of the larger story, or add to it?

Stadust was originally written to be illustrated by Charles Vess, and some plot elements were added specifically to challenge the artist.  Which do you think these are?

In interviews, Neil Gaiman has described the characters in this book as deep but narrow.  Is this way of writing characters important to the fairy tale feel of the novel? Is it lost in the movie version?

Stardust uses some folk rhymes as important parts of the plot, and these are likely unfamiliar to Australian readers.  Does this jar you out of the narrative, or draw you further in?

In the film, Tristan duels Victoria’s fiance.  In the book Tristran does not.  Which is the better faerie story?  Which feels truer to the characters? Is the fight necessary for film, but unnecessary in books?

In the book, Tristran’s mentor figure is his father. In the film it is the captain of the lightning fishermen. Tristram/Tristan grows into a good man in each case, but how do these men differ?  Why is it important for the film that his masculinity is expressed a way that’s different from the book?

Yvaine’s fate in the book differs from her fate in the film. In either case, did the old king do this to her, or someone like her, deliberately, knowing that this would be the outcome, or is it just chance?

In the written versions of the work, it is introduced by Song (Go and catch a falling star) by John Donne, which is a poem about discovering impossible things, and how a fair and constant woman is one of those things. How does this relate, thematically, to the text?

To what extent does the Victorian setting aid the story?

Fairies are liminal creatures, that is they guard boundaries between physical places and life stages. What liminal places are found in the novel?  In the film?